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tv   Supreme Court Justice Thomas  CSPAN  April 7, 2017 1:36pm-1:39pm EDT

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important to me to figure out when what i get my sea legs. the common number was five years. and justice white would often say takes about that long to go around the full horror of all the cases, that the kind of cases that we get. that was their number. and that may be about right. that doesn't mean you can't do your work or it just means things are still new for the first five years. you know, you may not have had as many original jurisdiction cases involving water rights or boundaries. you may not of had a lot of admiralty cases. so you get all of that. it was chief justice rehnquist when i was complaining that my goodness, what am i doing here? my first year, look around and i
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see people like him who would been here come at that time almost three decades. you see justice white who is legendary, justice o'connor. and he said well, clarence, in your first five years you wonder how you got here. after that you wonder how your colleagues got here. i don't know whether that's true exactly, but it certainly is an indication that that five-year period was fairly well accepted as the braking. >> i remember when justice breyer who ha lived in the junir justice for almost a record length of time, i think 11 years before i started, he took me aside and he sort of brief to me. but it took him a while to adjust to not being the junior justice. i remember very distinctly at the first conference there was a knock at the door, and i was sort of processing this.
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so what is likely at the door, it's my job now to get an answer the door. and before i could even start to get out of the chair, justice breyer was out of his chair and headed for the door and chief justice had to say, steve, sit down. that's not your job anymore. so i hadn't been in that will quite as long but i bet i will feel sort of the same way. >> what about the supposed practice that a new justice writes his or her first opinion after it's been a unanimous decision on a particular case? >> i think that something the court is trying to do. they did that with me my first opinion was an opinion in which we were unanimous. and i think it's a good practice. i remember when i sent it around and i had gotten back approvals from everybody, with a few changes. somebody said don't think it's going to be this easy all the time in the


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